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 Full text 
Verbatim report of proceedings
XML 3k
Tuesday, 13 June 2023 - Strasbourg Revised edition

This is Europe - Debate with the President of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides (debate)

  Manfred Weber, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Madam President, Vice—President Dombrovskis, President Christodoulides, dear Nikos, welcome in the European Parliament and congratulation for your success for your re-election as president, for the mandate the people of Cyprus gave to you.

In 2004, your country fulfilled a long—time aspiration, joining the European Union. In 2008, you entered into the euro zone, making your common market – our common market and our currency – stronger. In 2012, Cyprus held its first presidency of the European Council, shaping the European agenda from a Cypriot point of view. In the last ten years, Cyprus went from a country on the brink of collapse, suffering from mistakes of a former government to a European role model of prosperity and stability. You have regained your country’s financial credibility after the financial crisis through a remarkable economic recovery with discipline, with hard work and responsible financial management. I want to thank you also personally, because as foreign minister in the cabinet of President Anastasiades, you also contributed to this success story.

In 2026 – you mentioned it already – you will hold again the presidency from the European Council for the second time. We all hope it will be a presidency without a bloody and ruthless war at our doorstep. The Russian war in Ukraine has shaken the whole Europe to its core, and it rages on. Europe must continue to stand on the side of Ukrainians, whatever it takes. In these terrifying times, it’s great to see Cypriots next to the Ukrainians fighting for our European way of life. As Cypriots, you know first-hand what it means to be attacked, how it feels to live with the open wound of a divided country, an open wound for the whole of Europe.

For us, as EPP, we stand united behind Cyprus. Our position on the Cyprus issue has always been crystal clear: Cyprus issues are European issues. There can never be a united Europe with a divided Cyprus. Dear President, in July 2024 will be the 50th anniversary of the Turkish occupation of Cyprus. No one in Europe wants to celebrate this sad anniversary. We now have one year left. It is time to find now a solution to reunify Cyprus; it’s time to finally heal this wound. Now Erdoğan is no longer in an election campaign, perhaps this is also a chance for more willingness to compromise. Turkey must respect the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Cyprus. The two-state solution proposed by the Turkish side is unacceptable and its military provocations in the offshore drillings in the territorial waters of Cyprus are violating international law. Erdoğan must stop playing imperial games and come to his senses.

Dear President, we must protect Europe from Erdoğan’s instrumentalisation of migration on the Green Line. Thank you for continuing the hard work and taking important steps to regulate illegal migration – you mentioned it – and to increase the number of returns of illegal migrants. Europe does not respond to Erdoğan’s blackmailing. Turkey is an important partner, no doubt about this, but we need now to be clear in our talks with Erdoğan. The European Union must win back economic strength, with Cyprus’ contribution. Let us do everything possible so that soon we can stop counting sad anniversaries of occupation and instead finally celebrating joyful days of reunification.

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